Afghanistan: No Country for Women has won a Grierson Award for Best Current Affairs Documentary last week, as the ceremony celebrated its 50th anniversary. This important film sees British-Iranian correspondent Ramita Navai powerfully exposing the reality of life for women under Taliban rule. Originally created for ITV’s Bafta-winning Exposure strand and Post Produced by Storm, Navai secretly filmed in a jail where she discovers women being held by the Taliban without trial or charge, their fate often unknown to their families.
Over the course of six months, ITV’s Exposure has investigated the Taliban’s treatment of women – and uncovered abuses that have never been reported before. Speaking Dari, one of the main languages of Afghanistan, Ramita Navai gains access to rarely visited areas undetected, gathering evidence.
In northern Afghanistan the team investigated reports that women had been disappearing without trace since the Taliban gained power. Highly-placed contacts told Navai the women had been jailed by the Estegabaarat, the Taliban Intelligence Service, for so- called ‘moral crimes’, such as travelling without a male relative. They alleged the arrests were being kept secret. “The Taliban want international recognition. They want to show women are OK and they do not have problems.”
Filming with a hidden camera, the team gained access to a major prison where they suspected the missing women were being held. They discovered around forty of the women huddled in a courtyard, with others in nearby cells. Those Navai spoke with said they were held without trial or charge.
Storm provided full end-to-end post-production for this project, from ingest right through to delivery. The pandemic posed some challenges to the schedule, however Storm’s remote set-up provided a seamless transition for clients during lockdown. Their remote desktop solution Parsec, integrated with other parts of Storm’s infrastructure, meant they could form a robust hybrid workflow, giving both producers and editors total flexibility on how and where they worked.
Pro Tools Ultimate was used for the mix at Storm and the music was specially composed, meaning things like the base levels needed to be mixed in a particular way for TV.
The Online & Grade was carried out by Storm in the same session, by the same Editor – predominantly using Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve and Fusion. This not only gave production the best use of time, but ensured the finishing was cost efficient as possible. The GPU acceleration and technical ammunition in the suites meant heavy GFX could be rendered out easily and quickly. The Editor was able to freely tweak the picture to the desired look described by the Director. Not only was achieved successfully, but the look and vision was maintained from the initial shoot right through to the final review.
The Grierson 50th Anniversary Awards ceremony, which celebrates British Documentaries, took place on 10th November 2022. More information can be found here: https://griersontrust.org/grierson-awards/the-grierson-awards/about-the-grierson-awards/
Produced by: Quicksilver Media
Full Post-Production: Storm
Picture Finishing Editor: Paul Ingvarsson
Dubbing Mixer: David Ingram
Post-Producer: Anna Beaven
Technical Assistants: Charlie Matthews, Sam Keene
For more info on Storm Post, click here.